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    Peking Duck

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The Story

Nicolaus Stanitski, a Henschke ancestor, originally planted the Hill of Grace vineyard during the 1860s above the Barossa Valley. During the 1950s Cyril Henschke took his family concern back to wine and established the Hill of Grace label in 1956. The Shiraz vines – many now over 140 years old – are among the world's oldest genetic Shiraz plant material. It is remarkable that the vineyard remained intact considering the economic uncertainty and the social conditions of the time. The vineyard is planted on red clay soils overlain by sandy and silty loams interspersed with gravels.

There are several blocks including Grandfather’s Post Office Blocks One and Two, Young which is made up of the younger selected material located near the vines of the old post office, and the Church Block, House Block and Windmill Block. Vintage takes place during mid to late April, each parcel vinified separately to maximise blending options. The Hill of Grace style has developed along Grange lines, but by a circuitous route. Vinification takes place in open headed down fermenters with regular pumping over. Towards dryness the wine is drained and pressed. Partial barrel fermentation in a combination of new American and French oak follows to integrate oak and create complexity. The wine is then allowed to mature in the same oak for a period of about 18 months before bottling and further maturation. 


Location: Eden Valley wine region, 4 km north-west of Henschke Cellars at Keyneton, in the Barossa Range, South Australia.

Varieties: Shiraz (on own roots). Vines originate from pre-phylloxera material brought from Europe by the early European settlers. Riesling and Semillon.

Wines Produced: Shiraz – individual vineyard bottling since 1958.

Age: Oldest vines planted in 1860s.

Average Yield: 5 tonnes/hectare (2 tonnes/acre)

Soil: Alluvial, sandy loam over clay.

Trellis: 2 wire vertical/single wire at 70 centimetres.

Planting: Wide planting – 3.1 metres x 3.7 metres. Most are planted east-west, some north-south. Dry grown.

Treatments: Tilled and dodged for many years without herbicide. Only copper and sulphur used for foliage sprays. Now mulched and grassed down. Fungus problems are minimal. Vineyard can be considered 'organic'.

Maintenance Quality: Mass selection carried out over two growing seasons. Establishment of a mother source block.

Rainfall: 520 mm

Altitude: 400 metres

Year Vintage Quality Optimum Drinking

1984 Exceptional 20+ years
1985 Exceptional 15+ years
1986 Exceptional 20+ years
1987 Very Good 15+ years
1988 Exceptional 15+ years
1989 Great 15+ years
1990 Exceptional 20+ years
1991 Excellent 20+ years
1992 Excellent 20+ years
1993 Great 15+ years
1994 Exceptional 20+ years
1995 Excellent 20+ years
1996 Exceptional 25+ years
1997 Very Good 15+ years
1998 Exceptional 20+ years
1999 Excellent 20+ years
2000 Not Produced
2001 Excellent 20+ years
2002 Exceptional 25+ years
2003 Great 15+ years
2004 Excellent 20+ years
2005 Exceptional 20+ years
2006 Exceptional 20+ years
2007 Great 20+ years



Vintage 1962

Australia / A year of below average precipitation due to a dry winter. However, summer rains in January and again in March made this an exceptional year producing exceptional red wines, despite the poor fruit set for Shiraz.

In 1962 there were 7,174 hectares of vines in the Barossa and 31,774 tonnes of wine grapes were crushed in that vintage.

The introduction of the first Barossa Spaetlese Riesling by Orlando in 1956 had ushered in a new era of late harvest and spaetlese styles which reached its peak in 1962.

This interest in Riesling also fueled cool climate viticulture in the Barossa, including the development of the Steingarten vineyard on the rolling slopes of the Eden Valley by Orlando and the redevelopment of Pewsey Vale by S. Smith & Co. The Barossa has continued to innovate in winemaking technology with the first use of atomic absorption spectrophotometry for wine analysis at Penfolds.

Using a SO2 vacuum method, Australia's first rosé wine was made at Kaiser Stuhl. The wine went on to win gold medals at Australian wine shows and became a popular new style of wine for consumers.

John Vickery introduced antioxidant manipulation of white wines at Leo Buring using an inert gas blanket of carbon dioxide and ascorbic acid as an "oxygen scavenger".

The 1962 was the first Grange Hermitage to be made primarily from fruit sourced from the Kalimna vineyard of Barossa - also one of the best! This year also marked a breakthrough in acceptance by wine judges and the wine drinking public of Grange.
The Australian Wine Research Institute has named its first winemaker, Dr CR Hale.


Tasting note




Long and Lingering


Blackberry, Vanilla, Tar and Coffee


Open and Refined




Balanced and Silky tannins

Written Notes

Medium crimson. Intense roasted coffee, dark chocolate, wax polish aromas with hints of dark fruits and leather. Generous and buoyant with fresh espresso, dark chocolate, dark berry fruits, fine slinky firm tannins, very good mid palate viscosity and fresh long acidity. Finishes lacy firm with dried apricot, dried plum notes. Still lovely to drink with animated vigour and lovely mineral length. Drink now – will keep for awhile. 13.5% alc 96 points

  • 96p
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South Australia, Eden Valley

Vintage Quality


Value For Money

Very good

Investment potential


Fake factory


Glass time


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Inside Information

The beautiful and ethereal Henschke Hill of Grace, first vintaged by fourth-generation winemaker Cyril Henschke in 1958, is Australia’s most famous single-vineyard wine. Current custodians Stephen and Prue Henschke, together with their elder son Johann, have recently released the 52nd vintage, the 2009 Hill of Grace, a quintessential Eden Valley shiraz with its pristine blackberry aromas, plum, anise and exotic five spice nuances, fine lacy tannins, voluminous freshness and subtle savoury oak complexity.

The historic Hill of Grace vineyard, which takes its name from the adjacent Gnadenberg Lutheran Church (Gnadenberg was a region in Silesia, meaning Hill of Grace), lies in a shallow fertile valley at around 400m, and was originally planted around the 1860s by Nicolaus Stanitzki, a Henschke ancestor. The gnarled old, low-yielding shiraz vines are dry grown and managed using organic and biodynamic principles to preserve soil moistures, optimise vine and soil health and ‘drought proof’ the vineyard.

The vineyard is planted on red clay soils overlain by sandy and silty loams interspersed with gravels. The individual blocks are named after local landmarks and the remains of the 19th-century Parrot Hill village. Several blocks were planted on their own roots using pre-phylloxera shiraz vines brought out from Europe by the early settlers. These include the surviving 1860s plantings known as the Grandfathers, and Post Office Block One a few years after. The Church Block, House Block and Windmill Block were planted with the same clonal material during the 1950s.

The fruit from each block is handpicked at optimum maturity and individually vinified using traditional winemaking techniques, which include the use of open-top fermenters built in the 1950s, together with submerging of the cap and minimal handling. After two years in oak barrels, the wine is blended and bottled without fining, before being matured in the Henschke cellars until release.

The highly refined, beautifully proportioned Hill of Grace speaks profoundly of place, history, generations of effort and remarkable evolution. It’s a story of luck, passion, imagination and drive for quality that has resulted in more recent vintages reaching another plane, by optimising magnificent vineyard resources, superb technical skills and craftsmanship.

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